Baseball Second Baseman
The second baseman is the defensive player (specifically, an infielder) who covers the area of the field surrounding second base. Unlike the first baseman, the 2nd baseman usually does not stand right at second base. Rather, he occupies the area in between first base and second base (but slightly closer to second base).
Role and Responsibilities
As a second baseman, your responsibilities are the following:
- catch hit baseballs that enter his area in shallow center field
- cover second base to get base runners out
- cover first base in some situations
- make double plays with the first baseman
Role in Centerfield
Since the second baseman occupies the middle of the infield, he is often in the center of the action (literally) when a baseball is hit into the field of play. He must be aware of base runners' positions, react quickly to sharply hit baseballs and throws from other fielders, and always know where to throw the baseball next. He also must be willing to move around the field, such as covering first base in certain situations or catching baseballs hit into shallow centerfield.
Role on Double Plays
The second baseman is important in turning double plays. Often, another defensive player will field the baseball, then throw it to the second baseman who will touch second base to get a runner advancing from first to second out. He will then throw the baseball to the first baseman, who will touch first base to get the batter advancing to first out. If both the second baseman and the first baseman touch the base before each of the runners do, then both runners are simultaneously out. This is called a double play, and it frequently involves the second baseman.
Types of Second Basemen
While players with different skills can play at second base, the most common type of second baseman is a right handed player. Ultimately, any second baseman must be able to create double plays and cover for other players on the bases.
Left-Handed Second Baseman
It is extremely unheard of for a second baseman to be left handed. Their position on the field and the types of throws they make are much easier for right handed players. However, there have been a few left-handed second basemen in baseball history, including Sam McDowell who played for the Cleveland Indians.
Right-Handed Second Baseman
Right handed second basemen are much more common than lefties. They are able to pivot to make double plays easier because of the way their body faces when they throw.
Second Baseman Equipment
Infielder's gloves are designed to be small but firm so that the ball can be snagged and transferred to the throwing hand quickly. Besides the glove, they need no additional equipment besides the baseball uniform of a hat, jersey, pants, belt, socks, and baseball cleats. Some players wear compression sleeves or protective gear to shield them from errant balls.
Second Baseman Strategy
The overarching defensive strategy for infielders is to put oneself in the best position possible to field a ball put in play and record an out. If there are runners on base, the strategy revolves around keeping them from advancing, and especially scoring. It is important as a second baseman to be alert and aware at the time of contact, which could happen on any pitch.
Typically the second baseman positions himself closer to second base than to first, because the first baseman (who usually stands a few yards from first base) is capable of defending some space in that area. Depending on what area they think the batter may be more likely to hit into, the second baseman may move left or right of the original positioning.
Second Baseman Skills and Techniques
For balls hit on the ground, the surest technique is to get the glove out in front, and the body behind it. It is easiest to field the ball on its short hop, close to the ground. It is much easier to make a play from an athletic stance, with bent knees and good balance. It is advantageous to advance at the ball in order to quickly field it and avoid bad bounces. If it is impossible to reach the ball without diving, it is most important to keep the ball in the infield by knocking it down with the glove or body.
To make a throw after fielding a ball whilst moving toward your target, it is important to be balanced but use that momentum to most efficiently deliver the throw. If the play is at a closeby base, an underhand flip is often used to make it easy to catch. In any other case, it is important to set the feet and, as quickly as possible, orient at the intended target, then fire the ball.
In the case of a fly ball, it is helpful to quickly locate the ball, and then get under it. When the ball comes down, the proper technique is to use two hands, one behind the glove, to assure it is caught.
Top MLB Second Basemen
The following lists some of the top second basemen in Major League Baseball by team:
Considered the best second baseman of all time. Had a career stat line of .358/.434/.577 with 2930 hits and 1584 RBI. In the Hall of Fame and won two Triple Crown titles.
Won consecutive MVP titles in 1975, '76. Won five Gold Gloves. Won two World Series titles in his MVP years, and is a Hall of Famer.
Collins holds the record for most games played by a second baseman at 2826. He is one of the few members of the 3000 hits club.
Which defensive player is the second baseman?
The second baseman is an infielder who plays between first and second base, to the right of the first baseman, and to the left of the shortstop.
Why doesn't the second baseman stand on second base?
It is more advantageous for the second baseman to position themselves in the gap between first and second, so that balls hit into that area don't reach the outfield, in which they would take longer to recover.
What are the primary responsibilities of a second baseman?
A second baseman's primary responsibilities are to field balls hit between first and second base and to cover throws to second base.